Inside College Football: Can #6 LSU repeat as national champions?
The start of the SEC season is just under one month away, and LSU is having a major personnel issue during the early part of fall camp. The majority of LSU’s offensive line is currently quarantined due to either positive COVID-19 tests or exposure to infected individuals, according to a report from The Advocate. The report doesn’t indicate specific players who have been placed under quarantine, but the position group has been decimated to a point where reportedly only four offensive linemen are not away from practice at this time.
The NCAA issued guidelines last month suggesting proper protocols for positive tests and contact tracing. Players who test positive will be required to isolate for 10 days and are only allowed to return to action after at least three days without symptoms. “High-risk” contact with other individuals who have tested positive will have to quarantine for 14 days. “High-risk contact” is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes in which one or more individuals are not wearing masks. It’s unclear how many LSU players fall under each category.
It’s unclear how many practices the infected players will miss. LSU’s campus was closed on Monday due to Hurricane Marco and is closed on Wednesday due to Hurricane Laura. The Tigers practiced earlier this week despite the campus closure. Coach Ed Orgeron intends to practice through the end of the week as Hurricane Laura comes ashore near the Louisiana-Texas border, but that is obviously subject to change.
“We feel good that we’re able to practice,” Orgeron said on Wednesday. “We’ve got an indoor practice facility if it rains. If the weather gets too tough, everyone’s going to go home and be safe.”
This isn’t the first time that an entire position group has reportedly been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley told reporters earlier this week that the Sooners lost all but one player out of an unspecified position group on the same day that a scrimmage was scheduled.
LSU kicks off its national title defense at home on Sept. 26 against Mississippi State.